Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome to Coventry Music Scene from Hobo

Hi, I'm Trev Teasdel and
this is the hub page of the Coventry Music Scene Archives brought to you from Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine)

Above you will find links to the various Hobo bloggers, each one focused on a different aspect of the Coventry Music and Arts Scene from the 1960's to present.  

Below you will find an outline to what you might find on each blog followed by an outline history of Hobo Magazine, The Hobo Workshop and the Hobo Coventry Music and Arts Archives and their purpose.

Hobo Music Archive Bloggers (Links above)
The purpose of this archive is to provide information and source material for researchers, writers, media and those who were there and remember it and for the general reader / surfer looking at the background to the scene which the like of the Selecter and Specials came out of. It began with my own archives but we've had contributions from so many and it's just grown!

Hobo Magazine and Music Workshop
This blogger has pdf's of Hobo Magazine and Issues never published owing to finance along with material from the Hobo Magazine archive files, including poetry, letters, reports, flyers and other local magazines. There is material still to go on this blogger.

Coventry Bands From the 1960's to Present
This was started as the Hobo A to Z of Coventry bands but the has now been replaced by this updated site. There have been a number of A to Z's of Coventry bands since 2003 but  at some stage they disappeared often because of hosting costs or work loads. Maybe they will reappear at some stage. The first was The Broadgate Gnome A to Z in 2003 run by Ian Green - it covered the 60's up to very early 1970's and Rex Brough had a site which covered the 80's as well and of course Pete Chambers compiled the Godiva Rocks book in 2004 now out of print. It wasn't my intention to do another one but just to upload the material I had in my archives but I moved on it when the other sites disappeared to keep something going and it is much more comprehensive now.

Pete Clemons (Fred Bison) Coventry Music Articles 
Pete Clemons began writing on Coventry Music for the Coventry Telegraph - we archived his articles on this blog but now he just writes direct for Hobo. This is a valuable resource on Coventry music venues, bands and artists from the 60's onward and Pete's work is highly popular.

The Coventry Folk Scene - 1960's Onwards
As the title suggests, this blogger reflects the history of the Coventry folk scene with pdf copies of Pete Willow's 70's magazine with articles on the history and more. It has illustrated features on many Coventry based folk artists from the 60's through the 70's and beyond even Pauline Black of The Selecter is featured having started singing in Coventry folk clubs.

Rod Felton - Coventry Singer Songwriter  
Rod Felton was a Coventry legend all by himself and the amount of material and audio necessitated a separate blog for Rod. There is still more audio to be added and it includes material from his duo with Rod Armstrong - The New Modern Idiot Grunt Band!

The Coventry Arts Umbrella Club.
The Umbrella Club was the nearest Coventry got to having an Arts Centre, modelled more on the Arts Labs of the 60's it was started by a group of Coventry Actors and Architects in 1955 wanting to up the cultural life of the city. In the 50's it  had a quality poetry journal called Umbrella which featured the likes of Philip Larkin and EM Forster. In the 70's Neol Davies and John Bradbury later of Two Tone played there with early bands and were members and Roddy Radiation said he used to go along. the Umbrella was the cultural quarter of Coventry in it's day and was quite diverse in it's activities - Jazz, Art, Film, Poetry, Folk, Bands, adult education and talks.

Coventry Discos, DJ's and Venues
This blogger is for Coventry venues, discos, DJ's (eg Pete Waterman) and material which doesn't fit elsewhere - eg music and record shops, Coventry More Than Two Tones Exhibition 2009, Coventry Music Museum, Lanchester and Warwick Uni Arts festivals, an interview with Colin Richardson who brought bands to Coventry and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Coventry Music Archive Vox / Typepad 2007
The original Hobo Coventry Music Archive was hosted on Vox blogs from 2006 - 2009 and all the material was on on one blog and we had a great following before people moved on to Facebook to communicate. When Vox Blogs closed down the material was moved to their sister site Typepad - not quite as good and I built the above separate sites for the various aspects of the Coventry Music and Arts Scene. There have been many updates since this blog and corrections but I leave as a resource with its comments etc.

There are also links to my creative and poetry sites and to the Coventry Music Museum and some articles by Pete Chambers.

Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) / The Hobo Workshop and Hobo Archive Sites.

Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts magazine) was a grassroots magazine created by Trev Teasdel and John Bargent (Bo) in June1973 to stimulate the Coventry music scene, create new initiatives and publicise bands and events.

You can see PDF's of the magazine the flyers and reports and press on this blogger

Before Hobo - It seems that Coventry has always had some kind of music scene and there was a thriving show band / Jazz scene before the age of Rock n Roll. In 1959 Vince Martin and the Vampires became the first Coventry Rock n Roll band and in the 1960's after the Beatles, Coventry bands flourish and the city almost achieved a similar national status to Liverpool, Birmingham and London thanks to the work of Larry Page (who  managed /produced The Kinks and The Troggs) and his work in Coventry building the Coventry sound and many bands and artists making records for Decca and other labels.  Sadly it wasn't realised although a lot of ground work was done and local and regional bands and artists like The Sorrows, The Fortunes, Frank Ifield, Vince Hill made the UK charts during the 60's. It wouldn't be until 1970 that Coventry achieved that status when Two Tone burst on to the world stage. You can read up on all this via articles on our Pete Clemons blogspot

The Coventry Arts Umbrella Club began in Little Park street, Coventry in 1955 - the nearest Coventry came to having an arts centre. It moved in 1960 to 18, Queen Victoria Road promoting the arts. Trev got involved in 1969 at 18 where Al Docker and Trev put on the bands on a Friday night. It was only a town house venue but local bands could practice there and the periodically there would 'Underground Arts Fests' and Music Marathons and open all night at the weekends and away from a residential area it was a popular meeting place where ideas and connections could flourish and bands, folk singers and others could perform. Trev was involved in organising a music marathon and Folk and poetry performance night there also, until the end of 1972 when the Umbrella premises was condemned and knocked down and the Umbrella struggled to find another premises - finally settling at the Charterhouse in 1974 but the powers that be frowned on the Umbrella promoting live bands and providing rehearsal space. This was one of the motivations behind Hobo - to provide support to the local music scene that was no longer possible by the Umbrella Club.

The Broadgate Gnome 1970 / 71
Bands and venues flourished in the early 70's and alongside the Umbrella an exciting new anarcho-collectivist underground magazine was created called The Broadgate Gnome, taking their inspiration from the hippy Diggers of San Francisco with fraternal links around the UK. It's hard to understand in these days of Social media how important this was to the Coventry music scene and what an inspiration it was. The Broadgate Gnome certainly caused a buzz, with a regular A4 duplicated broadsheet magazine full of 60's rebellion and counter culture arts with coverage of the Coventry Music scene. Readers were encourage to read it and pass it on breaking the trend of commercial publications. Although the Gnome was short lived, they had some amazing initiatives - an arts collective that met in the former 'bomb hole' opposite The Golden Cross called The Digger's Hole. The Tribal Rock Cooperative was another initiative, akin to the Music Collectives of the 1980's. They promoted gigs at the Police Ballroom and Warwick University and via their links around the country, made it possible for local bands outside Coventry and other to come to Coventry, pooling resources and making available places for the bands to stay over night without the cost of hotels. Another idea was to create a Coventry music label - Wandering John and Neol Davies - later of the Selecter - were earmarked for this. This would be a grassroots label rather than a corporate affair. It never came off until later in 2007 when they created The Gnome label putting some of the local bands on Reverbnation or CD. My own CD was one of them. 
Sadly the Broadgate Gnome came to an end after most of them relocated to Brighton. One can't say that they totally disappeared and they continued to have an influence to this day but it was the end of an exciting period in Coventry.

Birmingham Streetpress Another inspiration came from living in Birmingham for a short while in 1971. Birmingham had far more resources than Coventry and I was inspired by the Birmingham Grapevine - a well produced whatz on magazine with feature articles. You could pick it up anywhere and find out what was going on in the city. By 1972 a new magazine started up - a bit like the Broadgate Gnome but printed by Moss side Press in Manchester. They also had a sister magazine Birmingham Street Poems. I went over to see them and had a tour of the Birmingham Arts Lab where they produced the layouts. They showed me how they designed each page A3 size and shrank it down to A4 size photographically. They had writers, reporters, poets, graphic artists and alternative cartoonists on board. The magazine was then sent to Moss side for printing and sold on the streets. They asked me to bring in copy about the Coventry music scene and some poems for Streetpoems but none of it was used given the amount of material they got from Birmingham. So they suggested I do a Coventry magazine. They also ran mixed media music and poetry gigs in Mosely and sometime I would go over and play songs or read poems. There was a fully developed Poetry Center then and the Midland Arts Centre in Cannon Hill Park.

Hobo Magazine 1973
By 1973 many of the top Coventry bands had long broken up Indian Summer, Wandering John, Whistler (Kevin Harrison's band), Dando Shaft, April. The Umbrella Club was homeless, the Broadgate Gnome gone and some of the venues shut down. Coventry was never a blank sheet but a new energy was needed by the end of 1972.

I looked into doing a magazine for Coventry, did some research, The Hillfields Community Resource Centre had a duplicator available and The Left Centre based around where Ikea is now in Coventry (or was as I think it's being redeveloped once again), had an Offset Litho printer donated by Professor E P Thompson author of Making of the English Working Class and who was based at the time at Warwick University. They also had a golf ball electric typewriter. I was newly unemployed and so couldn't afford to pay for the printing and it was long before there were grants like the lottery funds so the idea went on to the back burner early 1973.

By the summer the Coventry Evening Telegraph produced a new semi-colour weekend supplement called On the Scene. It was hoped it would about the Coventry scene but it turned out that it was a lot broader in scope with fashions and so forth but an article in it kick started Hobo in directly!


2006 / 7 we created a website on Vox to house the Hobo archives and share them with the world. The site reconnected a lot of Coventry musicians, now spread around the world and inspired new musicians in Coventry who were amazed by all the musical history of the city. The was involved in a number of  new initiatives with the Broadgate Gnome (another earlier Coventry underground magazine) who created the Gnome Label to promote Coventry music and the Herbert Art Gallery / Museum's Coventry Music Exhibition 2009 initiated by Pete
Chambers and much more. The site grew to contain much more than just the Hobo archives through the many interactions of those who found the site.

More recently Vox closed it's sites but allowed transference of all the material to another of their blog systems - Typepad - where all the material is now housed - all be it without some of the Vox features and without all of the interactions, as people fled to Facebook to connect.

The site is now an archive of itself as well!

However the site contained material from different aspects of Coventry's musical history, from rock to folk to
disco and more. many of the posts needed updating or rewriting too. So it was decided to keep the original site as a reference and develop a series of smaller, more focused sites on Blogspot. Still works in progress, you'll find links to them in the top menu. There's links to the Coventry Folk Scene, Discos and DJ's, Venues and Gigs, Coventry Arts Umbrella Club, A to Z of Coventry bands and more. A lot of work still to do but we hope you enjoy the material.

Trev Teasdel

NEW BOOK - DIRTY STOP OUTS - Coventry music and entertainment venues in 70's
by Dr. Ruth Cherrington.

This new book has drawn on material on these Hobo sites and features Hobo magazine itself as well as numerous memories and contributions from people who attended venues in Coventry or organised them or played in them. A brilliant book, well worth a read.

Dirty Stop Outs - Coventry in the 1970's is available from Waterstones and HMV in Coventry and also via Amazon UK HERE

Ruth Cherrington with the new book at Coventry Music Museum.

Dirty Stop Outs in good company on show at Coventry HMV.

Hobo Co-editor John Bo Bargent with a copy of the new book and an issue of Hobo from 1974.

Trev (on the right) and John Bo Bargent (with hat) of Hobo at the Coventry Music Museum for the launch of the new book.

One of the pages featuring Hobo magazine.